73 Baggley, 1988, p. 23.
74 Madeleine L’Engle. Penguins and Bolden Calves: Icons and Idols. (Wheaton, IL: Harold Shaw Pub., 1996), p. 30.
75 Ouspensky, 1992, p. 42-44.
76 Giakalis [Mansi 13, 56B], 1994, p. 124.
Another element of the defense of icons in the Seventh Ecumenical Council was that veneration already existed in the church and that it was appropriate to add icons to the list of items to be venerated. According to St. John of Damascus, whose teaching were heavily relied on during this council, veneration of the cross was common in the church. Apparently it was also common to venerate the “…lance, the reed, the sponge.”77 It was, therefore, no significant leap to venerate an image of the one who was on the cross.78 In the same way, “The Eucharist may be considered the image or icon of Christ…”79 “For the icon testifies to the basic realities of the Christian faith – to the reality of the divine penetration of the human and natural world, and to the reality of that sanctification which results from this.”80 Because it was acceptable to venerate the cross, it was defended that the veneration of icons was also acceptable. This allowed the possibility of the veneration of any material thing that was infused by the reality of God. In essence, this could even include a living person who exemplified commitment and service to God.
Old Testament prohibition against images was discussed in detail at the Seventh Ecumenical Council. Much of this discussion was based on the teaching of St. John of Damascus and Theodore the Studite. They refuted the charges that icon veneration was against Old Testament rules about idolatry with the following arguments:81 1. Pagan idols forbidden in the Old Testament were very different from icons.